Finally, once the perfect storm outlined above occurs, the policy tools for addressing it will be sorely lacking. The space for fiscal stimulus is already limited by massive public debt. The possibility for more unconventional monetary policies will be limited by bloated balance sheets and the lack of headroom to cut policy rates. And financial-sector bailouts will be intolerable in countries with resurgent populist movements and near-insolvent governments.
To help maintain a clear head during stock market crashes, investors should remember that they are business owners -- not ticker symbol owners. While stock prices may plummet, the majority of companies with good business models and strong competitive advantages will likely see a far smaller negative impact to their underlying businesses during these periods. So, be sure to detach stock price performance from business performance.
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In my previous article entitled “Why Are So Many People Talking About The Potential For A Stock Market Crash In October?”, I noted that this has been the month with the most market volatility ever since the Dow was first established. Absent some kind of major event, the stock market usually gets kind of sleepy around Thanksgiving and does not really spring to life again until after the new year has begun.
As we mark the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, there are still ongoing debates about the causes and consequences of the financial crisis, and whether the lessons needed to prepare for the next one have been absorbed. But looking ahead, the more relevant question is what actually will trigger the next global recession and crisis, and when.
Stock markets witnessed a sudden sell-off in the afternoon dealings on Friday with Sensex crashing 1,128 points and Nifty falling well below 11,000-mark while DHFL nosedived 60% following the rout in NBFCs and housing finance companies. DHFL share price saw the biggest intraday plunge in its stock market trading history on Friday. Most of the housing finance companies bottomed to their respective multi-year lows in the trades. Shares of Yes Bank, Maruti Suzuki, HDFC, Infosys and Sun Pharma were the biggest negative point contributors to the headline indices.
If the market went down, is it because one company changed its business model or its forecasts? Because a mutual fund changed its strategy? Because a glitch triggered a wave of selling? Because yesterday it went up a lot and people decided to take their profits and invest elsewhere? Because one large investor decided to cash out on high valuations? Because another round of stock options for Facebook employees matured, and they sold? On the whole, we can't say why the market went down today is due to a single reason.
The Dow Jones is flying, but the risks of a crash are many and ready to materialize. Donald Trump was elected almost a year ago, at the time of writing. The markets were supposed to have crashed. They did for a few hours. Despite the many protests, marches, and witch hunts that the 2016 presidential election has caused, the Dow has gained about 30% since November 8, 2016.
There are two big caveats to realize. First, just because the Buffett Indicator signals that stocks are cheap doesn't mean that they won't get even cheaper. As you'll see in the chart in the next section, the Buffett Indicator didn't bottom out during the financial crisis until it was briefly below 50%. Conversely, just because the Buffett Indicator looks expensive (like it does now) doesn't mean that stocks can't continue to muscle higher.
We continue to see the trend in shares remaining up, as global growth remains solid helping drive good earnings growth and monetary policy remains easy. However, the risk of a correction over the next two months still remains significant given the threats around trade, emerging market contagion, ongoing Fed rate hikes, the Mueller inquiry in the US, the US mid-term elections and Italian budget negotiations. Property price weakness and approaching election uncertainty add to the risks around the Australian share market.
Preparation is key. The best time to react to any potential market crash is before it occurs. Not after. Reacting in the moment can lead to expensive and costly mistakes. For example, if you saw that socks were on sale, you'd be more interested in buying socks. However, when it comes to stocks, people take a different view. When stocks are on sale, as can occur in a market crash, then often investors' instincts are to run away. Thinking about your strategy ahead of time and writing it down, just in a couple of paragraphs, can be key. Then if the markets do crash, make sure to look at that document before you act.